Stage director Greg Eldridge trained at The Opera Studio Melbourne in Australia before completing specialist study in Opera Directing at the Accademia Europea di Firenze in Italy. He is a graduate of the two most prestigious training programs for opera directors in the world - the Merola Program in San Francisco, and the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at Covent Garden in London. In 2015, the position of Jette Parker Associate Director was created especially for Greg.
Greg has recently been appointed Associate Professor of Opera Directing at the prestigious College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Greg has worked on over 60 productions in 8 countries, and is on the board of industry body Stage Directors UK. A former Bayreuth Scholar, Greg has given talks at Regent's University, London and St John's College, Cambridge as well as interviewing, hosting and appearing on panels for The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. He has worked in conservatoires and young artist programs in Australia, the UK, Germany, Italy and the United States.
The defining moment of my personal life was when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. At that moment, I was faced with the choice to either continue my university studies, or abandon them to be with my family in their time of need. My choice to support my family, despite the professional setback that entailed, unlocked in me a moral awakening that it wasn’t enough for me to simply do things - I wanted to do things that made a difference.
As I grew in knowledge and understanding of my professional practice, I became ever more aware that in order to be truly authentic I needed to balance determinedly following my passions with actively seeking to improve the conditions for those around me. I started giving serious thought to how, when I led a room, I could create working conditions that both encouraged achievement of goals and allowed people to feel safe, secure and respected. I sought out opportunities to engage with professional organisations to help me understand how to improve my own emotional intelligence and people management skills so that I could engage more meaningfully with a wider variety of people.
Now, as I start the next chapter of my professional journey, I am looking to further improve upon my inter-personal skills and build new ways of effective collaboration. By exploring these aspects of my own learning journey, I hope to continue to honour the legacy of the choice I made as a teenager and keep finding ways to make a difference.
I have always sought to understand my own self in terms of the strengths I can bring to any given situation, and the weaknesses that I need to be aware of in order to continue my own personal growth. There are a number of metrics that I have used in the past - and continue to use - that keep me continually searching for ways to understand and improve myself in all areas of my life.
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator I present as an ENTJ, which means that I am energised by spending time with others and prefer to look at big picture ideas rather than details.
I make decisions based on logic and reasoning and prefer to act in a methodical manner rather than engaging in spontaneous activity.
I also possess an innate drive to lead others, and work best when I'm in a position to work with others towards a common goal.
My leadership style can be brusque, however, and I have endeavoured to address this by investing in further training to increase my empathic associations with members of my team and not focus so single-mindedly on attaining our goals. I have found my enthusiasm for social change has provided an overarching "meta narrative" to my work and, in concordance with my MBTI grouping, I have an knack for identifying how individuals and their unique skillsets can be used most effectively within the mechanism of the group to achieve its aims. My interest in policy formation also ties in to these two aspects of my personality.
My Personality Trait Measures tend to centre around being ambitious and energetic, and certainly once I have a project, I derive so much enjoyment from my work that I commit to it sometimes at the expense of my social and personal life. It has taken some concentrated work in order to seek to balance my work and private life, and drawing on the variety of tools I've learned through short courses in leadership, I am finding ways to engage with work while maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
I do, though, need to make sure that I continue to work on those Personality Trait Measures that can be more challenging for other people to deal with. These include my tendencies to be egotistical and forceful. In appropriate measure, these traits can form a cornerstone of effective leadership and encourage those elements of firm decision-making and self-confidence that will be in demand in the workplace of the future. When those traits are used immoderately, however, they can be a source of difficulty and I am attempting to develop a suite of skills that will allow me to keep close watch on those aspects of my personality that have the potential to be less helpful in building effective group dynamics.
The Enneagram Personality Typing System indicates that I express the tendencies of a Type 5 - someone who is motivated by a fear of being thought incompetent or incapable and seeks to address that fear through thorough investigation and research. This matches with my preferred style of working, which is to take on board information from as many different sources as possible and then synthesise that information to develop plans of action that address multiple outcomes in the most efficient way possible.
There is a danger, however, that in those moments where I feel unprepared, or think there is a piece of information that I'm missing, I may become overwhelmed by that perceived lack. Over time, according to the Type 5 model, a healthy development will lead me to being able to synthesise information more effectively without fearing the potential judgement of being underprepared.
Over the past decade of training and professional practice, I have sought to continually improve my knowledge, my skills, and my exposure to new ways of interacting and communicating. Listed here below is a timeline of key events in my professional life, and a link to my professional CV.
2005 - 2009
2013 - 2015
2016 - current
2017 - current
completed Victorian Certificate of Education
ENTER Score: 98.5
Premier's Award for Excellence in the Study of Philosophy
My academic studies at the end of secondary education provided me with a firm foundation from which to begin the next phase of my life. My studies were heavily biased towards the Humanities, and included explorations of those aspects of critical thinking and literature which had been such a strong part of my life growing up.
study of Bachelor of Performing Arts / Bachelor of Laws
My academic results were sufficient to admit me to a double-degree at Monash University studying two strongly-linked fields that I loved - the social politics inherent in performance and the legislative process that brings about the laws that impact society. During my study, however, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and I elected to abandon my studies in order to be with my family. This threw into sharp relief the moral code that I didn't realise I had, which places a greater value on social and familial ties than in personal advantage. Since becoming aware of this key aspect of my personality, it has become a central part of my professional practice as I have sought to pay attention to social goods as well as individual advancement.
trained at The Opera Studio Melbourne in Australia
studied at the Accademia Europa di Firenze in Italy
Following my mother's recovery, I re-engaged with those areas of theatre that had piqued my interest - the musico-dramatic explorations of socially important texts that were found in opera.
I started training at the Opera Studio in Melbourne, learning from the directors there, and also travelled to Italy to learn more about the philosophies and traditions behind the artform. This international exposure began the process of broadening my mind to the cultures and history of other people - something that has infiltrated my thinking since and made me more aware of the ways that people from different backgrounds will experience and approach issues.
Young Artist Stage Director at The Royal Opera House
After living in the UK for 2 years, I applied for a position as a Young Artist at the world's most famous opera house - Covent Garden in London. As a result, I became both the youngest director ever taken into the programme and the first Australian director. I learned a huge amount by working alongside people from all over the world, making the most of the ROH's international status to learn from the best practitioners in the world. I was also able to marry my training with my inner convictions, and worked with their outreach and education programmes to develop models of training for teachers and students. I also engaged with adults and children from disadvantaged areas, and became the first Young Artist Director to involve the ROH Community Chorus in a staged performance.
Jette Parker Associate Director at The Royal Opera House
Partly due to my outreach work and my commitment to working with the wider community, at the end of my time as a Young Artist a new position was created for me at the Royal Opera - I became the first Jette Parker Associate Director. This role enabled me to continue my work coaching and working on education and social outreach, while also working on productions.
Freelance International Opera Director
After finishing my time at Covent Garden, I travelled the world working on shows for other companies. These journeys took me to Europe, to Scandinavia and, to Asia as well as allowing me to travel home to Australia. Having been exposed to the working practices of so many people across so many countries, the raw amount of experience I'd gained was far beyond that that I'd thought to encounter when I began my professional life.
Board Member - Stage Directors UK
Drawing on my deep desire to help my community, I jumped at the chance to join the board of the UK's stage director advocacy group, with responsibilities for emerging directors, immigrant directors, and those from Northern Ireland. I was able to engage my personal need to give back through the regular meetings that shaped the response of this organisation to some of the most important social justice issues facing contemporary society. Here, I feel as though I can share my competencies for the betterment of my community
Graduate Diploma of Professional Practice at UNE
When COVID-19 put a sudden stop to the theatre industry throughout the world, I started a process of self-reflection and consolidation of the insights I'd gained over my decade away from home. I enrolled in several short courses to codify my experiences, and this led me to the University of New England, where their Professional Practice course exposed me to yet further models of understanding. By carefully situating my experience within UNE's rubrics of understanding, I was able to better express the lessons I have learned, and see how to put them into practice for the future